PBS Gov Conf

Gov. Spencer Cox speaks during his monthly news conference at PBS Utah in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 18, 2021.

THUMBS DOWN: To Utah County commissioners Bill Lee and Tom Sakievich, who waited only a week after Tanner Ainge resigned to move forward with decreasing property taxes in Utah County. Both commissioners almost certainly know in their hearts that doing so is in the poor long-term interest of the rapidly growing county, the departments of which are already seriously underfunded. Lowering property taxes may look good on paper and on the campaign trail, but residents will suffer from having an underfunded sheriff's office, attorney's office, victim services, elections division and public works department. It's a shame that our two populist commissioners choose short-term popularity over the long-term well-being of Utah County.

THUMBS UP: To Governor Spencer Cox, who got his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Spanish Fork on Thursday. Cox has been a champion for the vaccine while also backing the science behind it. While this “Endgame” bill may seem like a bit of a backstop for Cox, he clearly did not have a choice. He bought off as much time as he could from legislators, an effort that was clearly in the best interest of Utahns. As far as this COVID-19 pandemic has gone, Cox has not missed the mark.

THUMBS DOWN: To the NBA trade deadline. What this day brings is stress, nothing less. People praying that a Woj Bomb will be coming their way, or that Shams Charania will bring some good news. As far as the Jazz go, I don’t know if the team is in need of any more pieces. Currently the team is the favorite to win the NBA title, but some other teams in the Western Conference and league are in need. When the clock strikes 1 p.m. on Thursday, it could make or break some NBA title hopes.

THUMBS DOWN: To the Utah County Sheriff's Office for misleadingly stating that a Pleasant Grove man involved in a SWAT situation was released from custody due to bail reform, which had nothing to do with why the man was released. The sheriff's office did so in an attempt to sway Gov. Spencer Cox to sign a repeal of the bail reform into law, which he did. Using taxpayer dollars to put out a press release that manipulates facts in order to serve a political agenda is unacceptable. We deserve much better from our elected sheriff.

THUMBS UP: To Orem city for taking the time and finances to have an outside Operations Assessment on the police and fire departments. The knowledge that both agencies are doing as best as they can with what they have and the knowledge they can reach best practices, should be reassuring to the residents who rely heavily on their services. We commend all involved with this undertaking and encourage the ongoing development of a Public Safety Master Plan.

THUMBS DOWN: To government officials, be it on the state or federal level, for continuing the cyclical discussion on banning semi-automatic guns and implementing stronger background checks. The right to bear arms is a privilege granted by the Constitution of the United States as signed in 1787. To build arsenals in one's home or to allow the purchase of semi-automatic weapons to anyone without deep scrutiny and background checks is an endangerment to society. Those who believe there is a need for military-like guns and weaponry in the family neighborhoods of America, take Constitutional privilege to a level unforeseen by the Founding Fathers.

THUMBS UP: For the right of every freedom-loving American to bare arms. I'm not sure if this right is guaranteed in the Constitution specifically, but can you imagine being forced to wear long sleeves all the time? Closer to home here in Utah, the term "farmer's tan" would be relegated to having little to no meaning, except for a few rowdy, short-sleeved renegades with red or tanned skin around the pale outline of a tank top. Yes, the right to bare arms -- regardless of how muscled or flabby they may be -- is as American as apple pie and it should not be infringed upon. 

THUMBS DOWN: To NBA teams that treat regular season games like scrimmages, based on the depleted rosters some franchises are running out there these days. Of course, legitimate injuries do come into play (ironically worded, I know), but some excuses are a bit much. Wednesday's matchup between the Utah Jazz and Brooklyn Nets is a prime example. A game that was supposed to be a showdown between potentially the two best teams in the league, instead turned into a complete laugher from beginning to end as the Nets' three superstars -- Kevin Durant (sore hamstring), Kyrie Irving (personal reasons) and James Harden (sore neck) -- all took the night off. 

THUMBS UP: To the BYU women's basketball team, for its spirited run in this year's NCAA Tournament. The Cougars notched the first seeding upset of the tournament on Day 2, and then gave Arizona all it could handle in a six-point setback Wednesday night. It's always fun when teams prove they are better than -- or at least equal to -- their seed. (Looking at you, BYU men's team).

THUMBS DOWN: To whatever breakdown in the system allowed an allegedly dangerous suspect -- who just one week earlier was arrested in a SWAT incident involving the reported firing of shots at police and members of the public -- to simply be released without bail. Whatever the snafu involved, I think everyone can agree that this should never happen again.

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